Life Lately… And An Apology

Guys! , I know it seems as if I’ve fallen off a cliff face, and whilst it kinda feels like I have, I managed to get caught on the ledge and am slowly starting to make my way back up.

So, first off, my apologies for the radio silence. I know my 6 loyal readers have missed me terribly. But I’m back, kind of, and now that the craziness of the last few months has come to a semi-solid place, hopefully this little ol’ blog of mine will gain some momentum again.

So, where did we end off? Oh yes, having a baby leaving my job and starting a business. Somewhere there, I think.

Yep, I went back to work after maternity leave, and left. So, whist it was all very unexpected it was the push I needed to get my little business that I had been running for two years off the ground. You are now looking at (well, reading words by) Kate Rankin Photography owner founder and creator and Kate Kearney Consulting, owner, founder, tea lady, loo cleaner, MD etc etc.

The photo business, as you know, has been happening and thriving and doing better than I could have ever imagined (see what happens when you buy a fancy camera? ;)). The consulting business started recently, and sees me doing a little bit of everything – I’m running and managing the social media for some awesome clients and freelancing at a company in Sandton assisting with their project management. Its amazing and wonderful and BUSY as all fuck. So, if you ever need a photographer slash writer slash social media’r slash jack-of-all traders, you know where to find me.

So, that’s the work news.

Kid news? Pinch me, cos I got the best ones out there. Seriously. I look at my daughter and am filled with absolute awe that I made this inquisitive, big eyed, feisty, fun, friendly and loud human and I look at my son and cant believe this cheeky, smart, creative, anal, obsessive, quirky, shy and kind little man is all mine. And together, well they are just amazing. For those on the fence about adding a sibling to their brood, all I can see is, despite the manic chaos of it all, it’s a bond thats actually too beautiful to describe.

Whilst this all sounds super happy and posotive it’s been a really rough few months as well. I learnt some valuable lessons about human nature and trust, I lost out on so much sleep that my body went into a state of mild depression and I am still fucking fat after having a baby. (Side eyes rooibos tea. Dreams about cake.)

Those are the two biggest and most obvious parts of my life, and I guess it’s what I naturally talk about. But the past few months have also got me thinking about feminism, emigration, the menstrual cup, chronic fatigue, stress and weight loss. All things I’m going to be delving into deeper on this blog, because if I cant tell you the perks of a moon cup, the anxiety over whether to stay in SA or flee for ‘greener’ pastures or about how women are fed up with the patriarchy, then what use am I to you, really?

So, thats it really. My last 4 months in a very tight little nutshell. A hazelnut, really.

Thanks for sticking around, if you did, I appreciate every single (literally, single digits) one of ya.

xx

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On Bucket Lists and Dreaming Big

I’m really stressed. Two very busy and demanding jobs, being a mom a wife a friend and a nice human being are all taking its toll on me. That and the daily financial stress of life, revolting Johannesburg traffic and wondering what the hell I’m destined to do on this earth have left me feeling severely Eyeore’ish. So much so that yesterday I even had a driz in the office after a long and frustrating phone call with my bank about home loan rates and the fact that I’m literally being bent over and rogered on a daily basis by their fees.

Speaking of traffic; my daily 3-4 hour commute and back to my offices means I have a lot of time to listen to shitty radio. So I don’t. I listen to inspiring podcasts and Internet radio stations and interviews with people who climb mountains and jump off buildings and follow their dreams. And ultimately I feel inspired for just a little bit until my actual life takes over and I’m knee deep in admin and invoices and editing and earning a salary.

The other day one of the interviews turned to a discussion on bucket lists, and while the radio crew rattled off their wish list I found myself completely stumped. The biggest thing on my agenda at the moment is ‘surviving’ so I was completely taken back by what these other folk had on theirs.

I haven’t stopped thinking about this since that day, and I’ve been thinking long and hard about what really makes me tick, what my dreams are and what my bucket list would be. It’s been quite a fun time letting my mind push through the mental constraints I’ve had and to conjure up a dream book of ‘what if’s’. It’s also been very hard to let myself think big and I challenge you to do the same, come up with your own list ad share it with me.

So, what is on my bucket list?

  • A photographic safari documenting wildlife ala National Geographic style. Think the Great Kenya migration, tree frogs in the Amazon and lemurs in Madagascar. I want to get up close and personal with everything from wide-eyed bush babies to the wrinkled and calloused skins of ellies. Naturally this means using only the best equipment and gear and sleeping under a ceiling of stars with my camera set to a long slow lazy exposure to capture them as they wind themselves around the night sky

  • Speaking of photographic safaris and all things National Geographic: remember this photo? I’ve been obsessed with it ever since I painted it for a matric art class project. I adore taking photos of people and something I have always wanted to do is travel the world and take portraits of locals in small unknown towns. Black and white head shots of ladies in the dusty streets of India, solemn faces of praying Monks in Tibet, curious kids on steps in Stonetown, fresh faced ladies at Croatian festivals and thin lipped, toothless ladies in China. I would travel with a guide who could speak any language and who would help me communicate with these people so they trusted me enough to take their photos and step into their personal space.

 

  • A complete house renovation with unlimited budget. My décor, my design, my dream and my space. Glossy dark wood floors, white open airy windows, furniture found on Pinterest and a garden so lush you could lose yourself in it for days.

  • A collection of rescued and abandoned farm animals. Sheep, a cow, a chicken or two. The money and space to take them on.

 

  • To write my book. Have it published, be wildly popular. Make fuck tons of cash dollar.

 

  • To do a photo-shoot in the snow

  • To learn how to design my own logos, brochures, adverts and more.

 

  • Have a ‘yes’ day. Don’t tell anyone but agree and say ‘yes’ to every single thing thrown at me. This one terrifies me a bit as well, I mean, what I someone asks me to go camping. Or dancing. Or eat meat.

 

  • Visit the pub/restaurant I was named after ‘Kate Kearneys Cottage’ in Ireland

  • Win an award for a photo I’ve taken. Any photo, any award

 

  • On the subject of photos – have someone buy a photo of mine that they have fallen in love with. And I’m not talking a family member buying a photo that I took at their family session, I’m talking random stranger loving something I’ve created and wanting to own it.

 

  • Finding the perfect foundation and the perfect bubblegum pink blusher.

 

  • Achieve a body weight that makes me want to run around naked. Buy an expensive bikini and put it on said amazing body.

 

  • Understand a little bit about every single thing. I love learning, but to be able to contribute to a conversation on anything from politics to propagation, without reaching for Dr.Google, must be a hell of a cool feeling.

 

  • Be office and traffic less, and when I do have to be in traffic have a driver so I can find more productive ways to while the time.
  • Be the voice of a character in an animated movie.
  • Get veneers for my teeth, and transform my smile into this:

 

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Kate Rankin Photography

A year ago today I went back to work after maternity leave. It was a big deal – and anyone who has ever been wrenched from a warm womb of maternity bliss and chucked back into open plan offices, deadlines and tuna salads named ‘Kevin’ understands just what a tricky transition it can be.

I went back to work with a renewed sense of purpose and my feelings on working moms, flexi time and balancing it all are not hidden. When I went back to work I wanted to do really really well at my job, but also be a great mom. And I did, but something was missing. I wanted to find my passion project. Wine drinking aside, I never really knew what it was that drove me. They say the things you do when you’re not consciously thinking about it, is what you really love. So if I think back on my life it’s actually pretty glaringly obvious that photography has always been my thing. I am never without camera, and my favourite present of all time was a 1.2 megapixel digital camera that came free with a double mattress from Dial A Bed. Oh, bless you, growth of technology.

Taking photos for me means capturing and preserving a memory forever. I view life through the eye of a lens and to me, everything is a picture waiting to happen. When Carter was born it was the perfect opportunity to take this interest of mine, and turn it in to something more. During my maternity leave I studied and passed with a distinction a diploma in photography, and finally felt comfortable using my camera on that terrifying ‘M’ mode. Sadly, work, motherhood and the aim for the perfect-mom-bod all got in the way and I let my camera gather dust for several months. Then, a few months ago, as if the heavens were aligning, I got asked by a mutual acquaintance – Jen –  to come and do their family/newborn photo shoot. I was flattered but said no. Then she asked me again. I explained that as much as I would love to, I didn’t ‘know enough’, ‘wouldn’t be able to do it justice’, ‘was too scared’. She insisted, and I’m so glad she did, because that was what it took from me taking this from a fun hobby to something more serious.

What followed was an intensive 2 week self taught crash course in ‘how to make nice picture for dummies’ and picking the brain of photographer friends. I dosed my arse on Clair from Fraser Photography’s couch for the better part of a morning and picked her brain on newborn swaddling and ISO and drank wine with Devin from Devin Lester Photography and tried to understand the ins and outs of Lightroom. I posed teddy bears on window sills to try backlit window shots and used my sweet (not so) obliging 1 year old as a model. A friend helped me design a watermark and YouTube became my best friend. The more I learnt the more confident I l felt. I also used this time as an excuse to sign up to more diplomas and buy a lens. Any excuse for a shop. Also, I now need to start making money off this fast-becoming-expensive hobby.

When I tell people I want to go into photography I’m often met with a lot of bashing and negativity. It’s pushed me more, and I’ve had some really great people help and support me and make me believe that maybe, actually, I can.

About two hours ago I shared the newborn pics with Jen and then posted them to social media. I was shaking like a leaf. Putting it all out there meant that I was out there, that people could now actually see, crit and comment on my work.

They say your first 10,000 photos are the worst. I’m pretty certain I’ll look back on my first few shoots in years to come, and cringe, but for now I’m so proud, and happy, and my heart feels so fulfilled.

Say hello to Kate Rankin Photography.

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Fondant Pigs And Other Fun Reasons I’m Falling Apart.

It’s been a year, don’t you think? With economic crashes, dickhead presidents and the death of several entertainment leaders, we are all feeling a little “what the fucky”.

On top of the state of the nation and all that drama, work is the busiest it has ever been, my child is almost one – so I’m trying very unsuccessfully to plan a Pinterest-worthy party, I’m studying a pretty intensive course and training for Half Iron Man. So yes, a massive pity party for one happening here, except it’s not really a party, because that would involve time, and music and probably applying makeup.

Being a working mom is so hard. And I think you only ‘get’ that when it happens to you. I now have a KZN approach of zero tolerance, and try my best to manage my time like a German soldier – but every so often (read, every day) something slips. And the more it slips, the more it feels that I’m going to start cracking.

Yesterday I bought a tin of formula for Carter. No big deal – he’s been on the same formula for 9 months. Except, the formula I brought home yesterday was a completely different brand to the one he has been using for nearly a year. It doesn’t even look remotely that same. It’s a small thing as exchanging it is minor, or so I thought until I arrived at work today without a handbag, and the till slip I needed to swop out FOOD TO KEEP MY BABY ALIVE. Thank god I keep a tube of lip ice and a tampon in my back pocket, because that’s pretty much been what’s kept me going the entire today. Finding gifts and snacks for a dinner party I’m attending this evening though is another story. Reckon I’ll steal a 2l milk and someone’s tuna from the work fridge and hope for the best.

Let’s not even get started on the errands I need to run just to keep my house and life ticking over. When do other working moms get to these? I’m talking about grocery shopping, downloading photos from an 18-month-old memory card or going to the dentist? Is there a secret? Tell me, quickly, before my teeth fall out (it’s been 3 years since I last had a checkup).

And then there’s traffic, and money (or lack thereof) and getting home after a stressful day to start my 3rd job (yes, I have a 2nd job writing for these guys) to feed, clean, love and bath my baby. Then fit in a run of sorts and spend the next 5 hours standing in sweaty running gear making fondant icing figurines for a first birthday cake which generally ends in my downing fondant and picking up my laptop to carry on with work that just never seems to end.

And then someone – without a kid, a stressful job, a race or a party to plan looks at me and says ‘You have no idea how busy I am’ and I want to simultaneously fall to the floor and weep while punching them in the face with my notebook.

Then, I count to 10 and count my lucky stars that I have a supportive husband, a (newly acquired) domestic helper who works 5 days a week (thank the baby haysus) and a child who I love enough to spend 4 hours making an icing pig for.

icing pig

But still, it’s hard, and not because of one thing, but because of everything, and suddenly a pound of flesh needs to be 10, and 24/7 needs to be 365 and burning the candle at both ends means your candle just doesn’t have enough wicks.

Moms, fucking hell. Way to go. Good job. Pat yourselves on the back – because I’m pretty certain I’m not alone in feeling like I’m breathing in water and treading in mud. Every single day.

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10 Reasons Working Mothers Make The Most Valuable Employees

There’s something quite terrifying about going back to work after maternity leave. Despite your hardest efforts, you change a lot as a person during your time off. I tried to keep my brain busy with online courses and adult stimulation, but the change goes deeper than that. It’s an internal shift that happens with or without your permission.

When I was pregnant, I would often carpool with my bestie, Amy, to work. Coming from Fourways, and traveling into Hyde Park, means traffic, always. A stresser by nature, I hated the fact that I was spending more than 3 hours a day sitting on a congested Jan Smuts, when I could be doing something productive with my time. Amy, mom to Ben (nearly 2) would always tell me that my anxiety for things that were out of my hands (read: traffic) would diminish, if not disappear entirely when I had the baby.

She was right. Something in me has shifted, and I’ve found a backbone and will that I never knew existed. My life is no longer just mine, and going back to work means adjusting to a new kind of normal. Do I strive to succeed in the work place any less? Absolutely not, but my priorities in terms of my timings have changed. I no longer have the luxury of dawdling over a task until 6 pm. 6pm is my child’s bedtime. I now steamroll through my work in order to leave at a decent hour and make the painful commute back home, to fetch my baby from crèche.

The past two weeks, of re-learning how to adjust to a full time job, being a mom, and not losing my sanity has taught me some very important lessons. And this is why I believe that working moms make the most valuable employees**. Here’s why:

  1. We are efficient. We keep humans alive, so running a team, managing a client and getting things done comes as second nature to us. Trust me, work is a hell of a lot easier than being a stay at home mom. For any mom who raises their baby on a routine, implementing a similar routine at the office becomes second nature. Timing is everything (just ask the parent who’s been shat on when they took too long to replace the nappy.)
  2. We have empathy. I used to have sympathy for moms when their sick child meant they worked from home, or when they left early to go attend little Johnny’s underwater basket weaving tournament, but now, I totally get it. Sadly, the world does not stop spinning after you have a child (the fucking thing doesn’t even slow down) so getting anything done is twice as time consuming. Just this morning, millions of parents woke up, bathed, changed, fed, burped and played with their kids, before packing their school bags, making their lunches, wiping their nose for the 18th time and shuttling them off to school. They did this all before bathing, feeding and getting themselves to work. I’m not asking for a medal, I’m asking humans to have some compassion towards other humans.
  3. We don’t fuck around. Yesterday a colleague mentioned to me that she’s hardly seen me since I’ve been back at work. That’s probably because I get in, sit down, work harder than hard, and make sure my shit is done before I have to leave for the day. I know that I get 45 minutes with my baby every day, and I need to be able to do that with a clear conscience, knowing that I have achieved my work goals for that day.
  4. We have a zero bullshit tolerance. I no longer have the energy, nor the time, to tolerate bad behaviour. Be it in a personal relationship or a working environment. I will never be rude, but you can bet your ass that your behaviour will no longer go down with me rolling onto my back.
  5. We are patient. Sure, we have a low tolerance for rudeness, but we are possibly the most patience specimens on earth. Any mom of a toddler will tell you that, compared with her child’s “but why” questions 1000 times a day, helping someone with a work related, laborious task, just ‘aint no thang.
  6. We will deliver. Listen up, I have sucked snot out of an infants nose, using little more than a plastic tube and a prayer. That means I am resourceful as hell, and can probably go the extra mile to ensure you get what you need.
  7. We are trustworthy. I’ve kept my child alive this long, right?
  8. We can work under pressure. Having a baby is like giving birth to a ticking time bomb. In the early days, one never knows how long the nap will last, how long the nappy will stay clean, and how long your bebe can go between hunger screams. We live our lives like brave explorers, fitting in hundreds of chores and activities between naps and poos. That means, the more you pile on us in a working environment, the more we can do, You’ve all heard the saying – if you want something done, give it to a busy person.
  9. We are resilient. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in almost half a year. If that’s not resilience, then I don’t know what is.
  10. When we are there, we are there 100%. Having a family means spontaneity disappears faster than your figure. So, when we do commit to something, it means we have lined up a plan in our absence in order to be there. That also means, we are going to take full advantage of the situation, and be present in the moment. Unless it’s a finance meeting, because I mean, snore.

** I’m not saying every single working mother is a win though. I have worked with a mother of 2 who proved more useless than Eskoms delivery promise. I’ve also worked with childless people who couldn’t arrange a piss up in a brewery. So, basically, some people are great, some people are dicks. You can’t win them all.

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15 Things That Will Always Happen When You Work In An Open Plan Office.

1. An item of food in the communal fridge is immediately deemed as a free for all and must be laced with laxatives or brussel sprouts to avoid thievery.

Communal Office Food2. Colleague phone conversations are either too loud so you can’t hear yourself think, or too soft that you can’t eavesdrop on what they are saying

3. The aircon temperature can never be agreed on

4. Pens, unless chained to your desk, will grow tiny pen legs and walk. This rule applies to calculators, staplers and any other shiny item of stationery.

5. The rule of cooking: The colleague sitting closest to you will ultimately be the one re-heating fish and broccoli for lunch.

6. Your working hours become skinner fodder for everyone. “Leaving at 4:59 again hey Sue?”.

7. Booking a communal boardroom in advance only means said boardroom will never actually be available come the time you need it

8. The second a client arrives for a meeting the water cooler will be empty, the coffee finished and the receptionist will be on a tea break.

9. Whispered hallway conversations always make you feel as if you’re about to get fired.

10. Shit will always hit the fan at 4:45pm on a Friday afternoon.

11. Guaranteed – no matter how hard you have been working the entire day, the second you open Facebook your boss will walk past.

12. Nothing is private.

13. Dieting? Sorry for you. Birthdays mean cake, and lots of it.

14. You sit within ‘guess the deodorant brand’ range from everyone, if you’re lucky. If not, it’s more like ‘guess when last they wore deodorant”.

15. It is loud. ALL.THE.TIME.

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When Talking Too Much Earns You Money

In my case – it happens to be true…

Many years ago, before joining the big bad world of the corporate I worked in radio as a DJ. (Back when Highveld was still tolerable I’ll have you know). I hosted the weekday morning 5-6 am slot – I often referred to myself as Jeremy Mansfields fluffer – and I also had my own weekend afternoon show on Saturdays and Sunday’s from 2 – 6 pm. When I wasn’t waking up at the crack of Satans bum to go on air I was lecturing radio courses and freelancing as a voice over artist.

Eventually, after 7 years in ‘the biz’ I realised I had to make a call; Follow my life long dream or keep it as a hobby and get a ‘real’ job. So, get a real job I did (although events and PR person for Nintendo was a very nice transition I’ll have you know).

I have been freelancing as a voice and TV artists for over 10 years now and I love how I still get to do what I love, on the side, and have a steady income with my 8 – 5.

I’ve never promoted my work on line and all work I do get is via word of mouth (pardon ze pun). Which leads me to tell you about one of the most embarrassing moments of my life:

An old colleague of mine had given my details to a guy looking for a voice over artist. Now, just to out it in context, people are always looking for free work and I can’t explain how often I’ve been called on to record company telephone lines (every company I have ever worked for) do free corporate videos and everything in between – ya, I really love working for no pay.

Anyways, this guy Mark asked me to come through to record a demo one afternoon after work (I generally do all my work at 6 am before work or in the evening). The lead up to The Most Embarrassing Moment went as follows (All of this via Whatsapp)

Mark: “Hi Kate, Can you pop round after work to record a demo? My address is X”

Kate: “Sure, no problem. See you around 7 pm”

Kate (then sends a message to Barry her then boyfriend now Husband): “Love – this is the address I’m going to (insert address). I’m getting there around 7 pm. If you don’t hear from me, call the cops, I suspect this man is dodgy and about to kidnap me.”

I then realise I HAVE SENT THIS MESSAGE TO MARK AND NOT BARRY AS INITIALLY INTENDED. Fuck fuckity fuck! (Also, the delete option on a Whatsapp message is about as effective as a condom stapled to a flyer).

Message then supposedly ‘deleted’ I arrive at Marks office red and embarrassed and praying like hell he never saw it. Sadly he did. Mark now thinks I think he’s a creep and I want the earth to swallow me whole. Turns out his office is on the same property as his house and Mark couldn’t be nicer. That night, to ease my fears he introduced me to his wife, 2 adorable kids and golden retriever puppy. I kid you not.

Mark also pays me well, on time and gives me loads of work for which I am eternally grateful.

If you too would like me to do some not-free work for you – below are some links to some work I’ve done.

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The Fight For Flexi Time

6.4 kms in 2 hours and 15 minutes. That was my commute to work today. I know I’m not alone. Social media platforms this morning were pulsing with angry, frustrated and irritable drivers. Everyone in Joburg seemed to be stuck on one of our main roads trying desperately to get to the office and do.some.work.

Traffic in J Town is never good – unless it’s December – when for 1 month of the year our prettier sister Cape Town gets to experience what we do for the other 11. Today was made even worse by the torrential downpour which lambasted the whole of GP. Both roads and souls made damper by the grey, wet sky and the inching of wheels, lights on lights.

The irony hit me like burst cloud, when 30 minutes and 500 metres into my drive I laughed at the absurdity of it all. Here I was – trying my damndest to not while away my time on Facebook – while surrounded by my work laptop, personal laptop, smartphone, iPad and 3G dongle. Devices, which I could boot up in seconds (OK, not my Acer, that’s just a piece of crap) and start working on, productively, within minutes. I can bet you I wasn’t the only one experiencing that sweaty tingly feeling under my arms, neck getting clammier knowing there was work to be done, emails to be read and sent and to-do lists to be actioned and crossed off. Anxiety made worse by the never ending line of cars not moving in front of me and the transition from breakfast radio DJ to mid-morning DJ. All of this in 6.4 kilometres.

Why as a society are we so stuck on the idea of an ‘8 to 5’? My never ending drive into work gave me time to reflect on why this approach has never really been adopted in South Africa:

 

  1. People assume you are busy, productive, grafting hard if you are at your desk, in your high rental Sandton office block. There’s a false illusion that if you are at the office you must.be.working. Trust  me – I’ve  sat  next to enough people who study Facebook like they’re going to write an exam on it later that day, to know that this isn’t necessarily true.
  2. People love to feel like they have been served an injustice. It starts as kids – “Moooom, Jimmy got a bigger piece of cake/food/chocolate than I did’. We are no different as grownups. Whispered conversations in office walkways – “Did you see that so-and-so waltzed in here at 9 am?!” Tsk tsks and collective anger will a mob make. I bet these haters never stopped to think about so-and-so’s reason for ‘waltzing;’ in at 9am. Kids, school drop, carpooling, late nanny, they were working until 1 am from home?
  3. Trust. I get this one. I’m a bit of a martyr when it comes to getting things done. I hate people who take their time doing things – especially when someone else is waiting on them. Perhaps it’s my desire to please, driven by guilt that makes me a bright shiny candidate for flexi time. (Pick me, pick me! I will be so paranoid that you think I’m slacking off that I will work double as hard, no, no, make that triple!). If I cock it up, miss a deadline or turn into a 9 am drinker, then by all means, haul me back to my lumber support chair in my cubicle and never give me a leash again. But until then, let me prove to you that I am grown up adult, one capable of working. from. home. (When I need to)

Flexi time is just that – it’s flexible. On mornings when you wake up to a Mother Nature shit storm, wouldn’t it be nice to know that you can grab a cup of coffee, boot up your laptop and be productive for a few hours while waiting for traffic to subside?

If it took me 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to work today and will take me possible the same time to get home. If I generously slice off an hour or so from that and call it 3 hours commuting, then multiply that by the millions of worker bees trying to get to the office in time then we, my friends, are looking at millions of hours wasted on a daily basis. Millions of Rands lost and an economy with an upside down smile.

Let’s look at trying to change our mind-set and applaud those using this time more effectively. I applaud my friend who worked in bed from 5:30am waiting for the roads to look less congealed than a Mac n Cheese dish after a family meal. I applaud that guy who pulled into the Mugg and Bean to work instead of rising to road rage. I applaud that mom who ensured her child got to school on time and safe and will more than likely work from home tonight, when her family is tucked in bed. I applaud the iPhone hot spots, the Wifi zones and the 3G dongles –because of them we are less bound to our desks, and therefore more productive.

Remember – Busy doesn’t make you productive. Productive makes you productive. Being Busy used to be ‘cool’. You know those people who are always SO BUSY. They just don’t have time for anything. Life for them is exhausting. Busy Busy Busy, Miserable miserable miserable.

Life is too short to be busy and sad. Let’s make life easier, more productive and more happy. 

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